Bridges, Buildings and Beautiful Railings
EDM Construction Inc.: structural steel work with general contractor viewpoint
EDM Construction Inc. (EDM) is an all-around, full-service steel company with a general contractor point of view. The company has served the heavy highway and commercial construction industry for 20 years and is a certified Women Business Enterprise and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (WBE/DBE) in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Maine, Rhode Island and Vermont. Its office and shop are located in Merrimac, Massachusetts.
The core management team comes from general contractor backgrounds. “Our niche is steel, but we also understand the other activities taking place around us on the job site,” says Founder and President Jacquelyn Magill, better known as Jacquie. “We’ve been on the GC side of projects, coordinating multiple trades.” She oversees EDM’s operations and expansion.
“Our ability to perform both miscellaneous metals and structural work is an advantage for our customers,” says Henrik Pedersen, Operations Manager. He runs the company’s Department of Transportation division and manages all of its highway department projects. “We specialize in bridge repair, steel erection, precast tensioning, studs and decking installation in addition to miscellaneous metals.
Jacquie is President of the Western Massachusetts Erectors Association. EDM is a member of the American Institute of Steel Construction and the Associated Subcontractors of Massachusetts, Inc.
Building on General Contractor Background
Jacquie is a 30-year construction professional. She began her career as a surveyor with Otte & Dwyer Inc. and later with Modern Continental Construction while attending Salem State University at night. She worked her way up to project engineering, later switching her focus to information technology and studied at Northeastern University. “Then I ended up in a steel position. That’s where I found my niche,” she says.
Modern Continental began self-performing work with running the marshalling yard for the just-in-time steel erection coordination of the top-down construction of the parking garage underneath the new Boston Garden. Jacquie led the steel team for that project and for the Central Artery/Tunnel Project, best known as the Big Dig. She was involved in the South Station work that ran over the New England Aquarium up to Atlantic Avenue.
She made a move to Iroquois Steel and ultimately became its general manager. When Iroquois closed, she decided to start her own business, EDM, in 1999. “I had a lot of experience but was still quite young. I decided it was the perfect time to try. I gave myself three to five years to make it work,” she says. And, sure enough, it worked.
Jacquie has earned numerous industry certifications. She’s a Journeyman Ironworker and a licensed Construction Supervisor. She completed Post-Tensioning Institute certification because “I wanted to know what our people in the field needed to know.”
A Name and a Niche
The company’s name is a nod both to Jacquie’s early career—an EDM is an electronic distance measurement in the surveying field—and her family. When niece Erin Delia was born, Jacquie remarked to her sister: “That’s an EDM!” (The M is for Magill.) Now, it also stands for Erin, Daniel and Margaret, the first three members of the next generation of Jacquie’s family.
“From the start of the company, our projects were structural: skeletal frames and horizontal construction such as highway bridges,” she says. We expanded our services into miscellaneous metals in 2013 when Henrik joined the team.”
Growing up in Denmark, Henrik enjoyed building things, particularly with Legos. He graduated with a master’s degree in civil engineering from the Technical University of Denmark (DTU). His early career in general contracting took him to Norway and Jamaica, before a move to the United States in 2005 to assist with establishment of U.S. operations for Danish company Pihl Inc. Jacquie and Henrik met during a bridge project where EDM was performing the steel work.
“When Henrik came on board, we obtained DCAMM certification to perform miscellaneous metals in 2014,” says Jacquie. The Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance holds all Massachusetts state contracts for new construction and renovation of vertical projects. Subcontractors must be DCAMM-certified to perform miscellaneous metals. “Our projects are now approximately 50% DCAMM and 50% highway department,” Jacquie says.
Lead Estimator Kris Kraft comes from the fabrication side of the business and has spent his entire career in the metals sector. EDM’s foremen each have 20 or more years of experience.
Variety of Projects
“We complete 40 to 50 jobs a year for a variety of vertical and horizontal projects, public and private, from small to quite large,” says Henrik. “If the project is a decorative staircase or a bridge, we can do it.” One of EDM’s first large-scale bridge projects was Exit 23C off Interstate 495 in Marlborough, Massachusetts, for Jay Cashman, Inc. The job required placement of curved tub girders over the highway.
Recent miscellaneous metals projects include installation of the interior staircase for the Blueprint Medicines headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts. EDM also replaced existing handrails with decorative metal, paneled rails at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center in Roxbury, Massachusetts.
EDM performed all structural steel for accessibility and safety improvements made during renovation of Wollaston Station for Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) in 2019.
EDM was a subcontractor on the Route 18 Weymouth-Abington Improvement Project for Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT), performing the structural work for the new Route 18 bridge over the MBTA commuter rail. The 364-foot bridge is 70-feet wide and weights 1,200,000 lbs., requiring 10,500 bolts. “It was a challenging job with traverse and longitudinal girders,” Henrik says. “We’re building the new bridge next to the existing bridge.” “It was a great job, from planning to installation,” adds Jacquie.
The company installed 5,000 feet of railing inside the parking garage and the 120-foot marquee sign for the 14-acre MGM Casino in Springfield, Massachusetts, in 2018. “We also installed a steel frame to support the original stone facade of the historic First Congressional Church during demolition,” says Henrik. The facade was preserved and incorporated into the new MGM building’s structure. EDM returned in 2019 to install a new roof canopy that supports solar panels.
EDM also provided structural steel and miscellaneous metal work for the new Blackstone Heritage Corridor Visitor Center in Worcester, Massachusetts.
Giving Back and Looking Ahead
Jacquie has a long-held personal commitment to give back to the community. She made that a part of the EDM culture with a program that encourages everyone to participate, even with teams working at multiple job sites: The 12 Months of Giving Fundraising Program. Each month, the company selects a charity. All employee donations are matched dollar-for-dollar by the company. Employees who donate a minimum of $10 are entered in a raffle to win a $100 gift card.
Giving to the less fortunate is one corporate value; another is giving the gift of knowledge to each other. “We’re a small company, which means that our team members have to be well-rounded, hands-on and able to see a job through, from start to finish,” Henrik says. That atmosphere provides an opportunity to learn and gain broad experience. “We have some people who have been with us for their entire ironworking career,” he adds.
EDM’s leadership also keeps an eye on the next generation of ironworkers. Jacquie is a member of the Ironworkers Local 7 Joint Apprentice Committee, which educates and trains apprentice ironworkers for the 3,000-plus member Local 7. She’s involved in outreach with a goal of a more diverse workforce, visiting technical schools and talking to students and instructors about career opportunities in the construction industry.
That engagement has connected students with apprenticeship opportunities at EDM, including their current apprentice and a journeyman.
“We’ve seen a lot of growth, particularly in the Boston area,” Henrik says. “We have more clients than ever because of the relationships we’ve built and the projects we’ve successfully completed. We’ve worked with 30 to 40 different companies.
“We’re not afraid of taking on big challenges and big jobs,” he adds. He cites emergency steel repair work on antenna towers, a three-month project that EDM completed at the Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) South Helix House on the United States Navy’s shore radio station in Cutler, Maine, not far from the border with Canada.
Jacquie looks back with pride on the company’s growth over the past two decades. “There is so much to tackle during the first five years of a company,” she says. “Nearly everything you do is a first. With EDM now well established, we know exactly what has to be done and we do it consistently and well. Our focus is on continued delivery of successful projects and building our team.”